Research AreasPolitical
Forum on Social WealthAgarwal

Environmental Wealth and Gender Justice: From paradox to potential
A Lecture by Bina Agarwal
Free and open to the public

May 18, 2006 at 7:30PM
Gordon Hall - third floor conference room
418 N. Pleasant St.
Amherst, MA 01002

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After an extended worldwide debate, a consensus has emerged that communities can be the best protectors of the natural wealth and biodiversity of forests. Yet in South Asia, where community groups for forest management have mushroomed, we find a paradox: women face worsening shortages of the forest products on which they depend for daily needs. Ostensibly set up on principles of democracy and inclusiveness, community forestry groups often exclude significant sections of the local population – especially women – from voice and access. These exclusions remind us that our institutions of social wealth – communities and families – also can contain the seeds of poverty. How can these institutions be transformed to realize their potential, and to unlock the potential of our natural wealth?

Bina Agarwal is Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University. She has held distinguished positions at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Michigan, Minnesota, and Sussex, and lectured world-wide. She was Harvard’s first Daniel Ingalls Visiting Professor, and holder of the University of Minnesota’s Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts awarded to those who are engaged in “breakthrough research and value the academic iconoclast”. Her writings cover issues in land, livelihoods and property rights; environment and development; the political economy of gender; poverty and inequality; law; and agriculture and technological change. Her multiple award-winning book: A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia (CUP) has impacted both national and international policy on women’s land rights. She was Vice-President of the International Economic Association, President of the International Association for Feminist Economics, and is a foundeing member of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics.

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